The London School of Journalism

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Short Story Writing


Whether a short story is meaningful and gritty or light entertainment, a good one is a work of art. It’s a brief encounter. It’s a glimpse into another life. It’s complete and self-contained. With no room for padding, the short story also bares the elements of the writing craft – your writing craft – to scrutiny. It’s like illuminating a single painting on an otherwise empty wall.

The great thing about a short story is that it is short. Whether the word count is in the hundreds or in the thousands, completing it is within your capabilities. It doesn’t swallow up a year or two of your life as a novel might; there is one story strand for you to manage not several and there’s no room for a throng of characters.

Successful fiction writing normally depends upon a mixture of ability and technique. There are no opportunities to allow the characters to 'develop', or for situations to 'arise' as in a novel. Within a few hundred words the story must seize the reader's attention, develop and end - preferably with an unexpected twist.

‘Technique’ is where the London School of Journalism comes in. This course and the one-to-one contact with your tutor will provide you with what you need to develop your own style and skills and greatly improve your chances of becoming a successful published writer.

 

Course Syllabus

  1. Lesson 1: Why are you writing short stories

    An overview of short stories, problem and resolution, central characters. Why and because...making writing fun. Presentation, spelling and grammar.

  2. Lesson 2: Ideas

    Where do we get ideas. The importance of titles. Making openings jump into action. Genres and themes.

  3. Lesson 3: Plots

    Plotting and planning. The importance of structure. What is an idea and what is a plot? Writing an outline.

  4. Lesson 4: Pivotal moments

    How to construct key moments, when are they important? Making satisfactory endings.

  5. Lesson 5: Characterisation

    Emotion and motivation. History and biography. What other influences? Body language.

  6. Lesson 6: Make your characters live

    Get your characters to create and show the plot instead of telling it.

  7. Lesson 7: Dialogue

    Characterisation is further examined, how characters can be made three-dimensional on paper. What people are can be revealed by what they say and therefore effective dialogue is reviewed.

  8. Lesson 8: Viewpoint

    What is it and why is it important? First, second and third person. Narrators and actors.

  9. Lesson 9: Settings

    Using your own knowledge and experiences. Research without the info overload.

  10. Lesson 10: Style

    The building blocks that make good writing. Power and beauty of language. Editing and polishing.

  11. Lesson 11: Drama and Conflict

    Causing an impact. Types of conflict and how they affect your character.

  12. Lesson 12: Markets

    Study the market. Magazines, short stories and serials.

  13. Lesson 13: Broadcasting

    How the written word differs from the spoken. Making the most of the medium.

  14. Lesson 14: Final Words

    Tips and suggestions with some words of advice.

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